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Alexander's Column

The Moral Bankruptcy of the BSA's National Board

The national BSA board abandoned its "morally straight" mandate and will pay the price well into the future.

Mark Alexander · Feb. 18, 2020

“A good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous.” —George Washington (1790)

“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” —Oath, Boy Scouts of America

As a former Scout, a Scout leader, the father of two Eagle Scouts, and a BSA Executive Council member, it grieves me to report that the national BSA board has, as I estimated it would a year ago, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The declaration was the result of lawsuits brought by the victims of sexual predators, who concealed their predatory behavior in decades past in order to access a virtually unlimited field of young boys. According to The Washington Times, this “could be one of the biggest, most complex bankruptcies” ever. A lawyer for more than 300 victim plaintiffs, Michael Pfau, asserts, “You’re talking about tens of thousands of victims. This will be the largest bankruptcy the country has ever seen.”

For clarity, there is a significant distinction between the national BSA board and local Scouting councils — the latter effectively operate as autonomous, setting their own standards for leadership and membership. As the national board has made clear, the local councils “are legally separate, distinct and financially independent from the national organization.” Most councils, as is the case with the one I serve, have very high standards for troop and pack leadership and membership. However, now that the national BSA board has declared bankruptcy, this will likely heap claims on local councils.

On the other hand, the national BSA board sold out in 2015 when, against all reason and logic, it voted to allow local councils to admit adult homosexual leaders. That was an apparent appeasement by wealthy national BSA board corporate types, who did not want their own companies boycotted by leftist “heterophobic gender deniers” accusing the BSA of being “homophobic” because the organization did not allow homosexual leaders. And in leftist-controlled states, there were legal actions against this once-highly esteemed private organization for not allowing gender disoriented leaders.

So, today the Boy Scouts of America national board is declaring bankruptcy because of homosexual predation on boys by Scout leaders over the last 40 years — and at the same time revelations about this history of abuse were surfacing five years ago, the BSA board, in its detached and warped sense of obligatory social justice, opened its doors to homosexual leaders. What could go wrong?

No organization can fully protect itself from pedophile predators, but inviting those with deviant sexual predilections into the ranks of Scouting was a grossly negligent decision. While the Boy Scouts oath is still the standard by which Scouts are held, the national BSA board abandoned its “morally straight” mandate and will pay the price well into the future.

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